I just found this off of Gizmodo.
http://www.plusminus.ru/remote.html It’s a new design for a t.v. remote. Basically you have a string of beads with numbers and other t.v. controls on them. You some how work around the controls and select the number or function by slightly pressing the bead. As pointed out on Gizmodo, it would probably be a pain in the ass to do channels with three digits and there’s always the possiblity of the cat running off with the beads.
However, I just thought of a better use of these beads. On the product page there is custom bead set that has CNN, VH-1, and other specific channels on the beads. Now, if you made the beads larger, maybe about teh size of a ping-pong ball and had some sort of artful dish on the table, then they might be useful. Imaging having a dish with three input concaves (bead holders), so you can put in either 1 bead or 3, to get numbers 1 – 999 (I hope we never have 999 t.v. channels). You would have to have 3 sets of numbered beads to make up the 999. Then you can have multiple custom balls that have pictures or some image showing the channel on them. You then place one of the custom balls in the bead holders. If there are more than one of those channels, i.e. C-Span 1, C-Span 2, then you can put in the custom channel and then a corresponding number to get the other channels in the custom channel. With HDTV coming out, there will be sub channels with regular channels. So, instead of typing in the number for the channel, you can look down, pick up your Sci-Fi channel and switch from ABC with all the effort of flicking one bead out of the way and placing another on in it’s spot.
The control dish (piece of art work) could also hold places for changing the lighting around the room. It could also have a main power bead holder so that you could place either the t.v., dvd, radio, etc… bead in the power spots to turn them on.